Subaru World Rally team driver Petter Solberg damaged his Impreza WRC car this morning [Thursday] in Corsica in an accident during the pre-event shakedown.

After a number of trouble-free passes through the 7km asphalt test stage, Solberg's car left the road nearly 2km from the start line and sustained bodywork damage after hitting a telegraph pole.

Both Solberg and his co-driver Phil Mills were uninjured in the accident.

Having received permission from rally organisers to miss tonight [Thursday]'s ceremonial start, team technicians and engineers are planning to work into the night to make the necessary repairs to the car in order that the Norwegian can start tomorrow as originally planned.

"We were 1.9km from the start, on a right hand corner when the car got on to some loose gravel on the outside of the road and we slid off," explained Solberg, "The rear of the car on my side hit a telegraph pole and it's caused quite a lot of damage.

"The car is pretty bad, but the team are working flat out to repair it, we're all doing everything we can and I really hope that we can start the rally. I always respect shakedowns, I've done 53 of them over the years and have never put a foot wrong before. But you have to remember that we're competing at the highest level here, we're not playing around, and things like this can happen at any time, during shakedown as well as the rally. It's just really bad luck."

Team boss David Lapworth added: "We're doing everything we can to enable Petter to start the rally tomorrow. This afternoon we took his car to a specialist workshop in Ajaccio where we were able to put it on a jig and make a thorough assessment. We're satisfied that the shell isn't badly damaged and we've already done a lot of the necessary repair work.

"The organisers have given us permission to miss tonight's ceremonial start in order that the rest of the work can be done. We've got a great team of technicians and engineers on the case and we're prepared for a long night in the workshop, but we're behind Petter 100 per cent and are absolutely determined to get the job done."



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